03 Dec 2018

“Mindful eating - it’s not just what we eat, it’s how we eat”

Clarissa Lenherr- Nutritionist and founder of Clarissa Lenherr Nutrition
When was the last time you had an actual sit-down meal? If your answer is last night, I am pretty impressed! For most of us, sitting down to focus on our breakfast, lunch or dinner takes a backseat to our busy lifestyles. 

Instead, meal times have become an opportunity to multi-task. Too often we will reach for our phones for a breakfast Instagram fix or power through a project whilst we eat lunch at our desks. This loss of focus and attention when we eat can lead to what we call: mindless eating.

Have you ever been watching TV whilst eating, and found after countless attempts at stabbing your fork into the bowl, you realise there is nothing else to fork out?  Or ever chomped your way through an entire bowl of popcorn without even registering the pop? You are not alone. When we divide our attention at meal times, and thus eat mindlessly, we tend to miss our innate hunger and satiety cues, which can lead to over-eating and in the long-term weight gain and digestive trouble.

When we don’t acknowledge the flavours, textures and taste of our food, we can miss the satisfaction factor – that joy and contentment we feel at the end of a good meal. If we neglect this, we are more likely to crave another bite, or a “finisher” (sweet treat alert) to round off our meal.

So, to avoid over-eating, dissatisfaction, digestive issues and appetite disregulation, we need to practice mindful eating.

Mindful eating is the practice of being present when we eat something and paying attention to it. This practice will allow you to eat well and enjoy food.

So here are my top tips on how to easily and enjoyably implement mindful eating into your everyday routine!

HOW TO EAT MINDFULLY

Make Your Mealtimes Distraction-Free

When you eat, just eat. Put your phone down, turn off the TV and focus on the delicious food in front of you. This will allow you to eat until you are comfortably full and gratified. Try doing this for one meal a day, and notice the difference. Aim for awareness not perfection or rigid rules.

Always Eat from the Plate

Resist eating straight from the fridge, bag or box. Not only is it easier to overeat when you can’t see how much you’ve consumed, but it is also tougher to fully appreciate your food when it is hidden from view.

Put Down Your Utensils

Often, we are already formulating the next bite with our fork while we are still munching on our previous bite. To avoid this, try putting down your knife and fork between each bite. This will allow you to enjoy the food you are currently chewing, and prevent you from shovelling down a meal.

Quit the Clean Plate Club

Many of us were brought up to finish everything on our plate and told we could not leave the table until we did. Although no one wants to waste food, this practice can lead to us overeating beyond our fullness and satisfaction levels. Instead, consider saving your leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch or a snack for later in the day.

Written by: Clarissa Lenherr  (BA HONS, DIP CNM, mBANT) - Nutritionist and founder of Clarissa Lenherr Nutrition. Meet Clarissa at Live Well London from 1-3 March 2019 . Grab your tickets here

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